I just started an amazing book last night by Madeleine L'Engle. Walking on Water. It's a gem of a book. A book that not only do I know God placed in my hands at the right time, but one that makes me feel like I'm reading something life-changing, unlocking a mystery and stumbling onto some sort of key to life. (Other books which have been like this for me lately are ; The Genesse Diaries by Henri Nouwen and Hind's Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard). Walking on Water is about the paradoxes of the creative life from a Christian perspective. She speaks specifically of the parallel truths of a writer's desire for both recognition and anonymity. I know that when I'm obeying the call to write, there is a battle going on as I'm poised over keyboard. I pray to let God speak through me, but then, I, inevitably come in. I start thinking about who's going to read what I write. If and when I finally let go of me, my work is so much better. So why do I even bother with the fight?
Yet, anything one endeavors to do will be met with strife. Everything important suddenly becomes a bout between two opposing voices. There are times writing makes me feel utterly stupid and full of doubt and other times when I feel empowered and high from it. So it is with my relationship with God. Sometimes I feel terribly close to Him and other times I'm screaming in my mind for Him to make Himself present. And just like writing, I walk with God, no matter what the outcome. It's the doing it. He's in charge of the rest.
L'Engle describes herself as a struggling Christian and at first that threw me off. But the more I think about it, aren't all Christians struggling in some sense? And if we're not, maybe there's something wrong with our Christianity because the authentic Christian life is a struggle. Paul said he was not yet sanctified but he pressed on. There is a war for our souls. And even when we've given our life to Christ, there is still a constant war in our minds. I know exactly what Paul meant when he said in the book of Romans, that which he desires to do, he does not do. And that which he desires not to do, he does. I can be obedient to Christ sometimes in the bigger things, but it's the small requests He makes that I sometimes refuse. A small act of kindness I could easily accomplish but for my selfishness. The things no one would notice if I were not to do. How many times do I ignore a prompting?
A quote in L'Engle's book says that , "To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, not even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one's life would not make sense if God did not exist." What an honor it would be to be able to live that way. To witness that way. But I don't. Too often I feel that it is just me people see and not Christ. To have my life hid in Christ is what I desire. Sometimes. And sometimes I war within myself. Sometimes I want my own way. Sometimes I want to please God so much I strive, doing everything in my own strength, accomplishing nothing. But still yet, there are days I feel childish and justified and I don't want to submit or obey and people probably look at my walk and think that I'm not a very good example of Christ.
I am a struggling Christian.